CHAPTER 5:1-12 – THE ARK MOVED IN AND THE TEMPLE COMPLETED
All was finished; and those things which David had dedicated to the Lord, and the silver and the gold and all the instruments were brought into the treasury of the temple. Solomon called for the elders of Israel, the heads of the tribes, and the chiefs of the fathers to come to Jerusalem to participate in bringing the ark of the covenant into the temple. Remember, the ark had not been in the tabernacle since its loss to the Philistines in the time of Saul (1 Sam. 4:11).
The Levites brought the ark from its place in Zion and the old tabernacle from Gibeon with its vessels into the temple (cf. 1 Chr. 15:2). Remembering Uzzah, the Levites were careful to follow God's instructions (2 Sam. 6:6-7). Solomon and the congregation assembled before the ark and made a sacrifice which could not be numbered. The Levites brought the ark into the Most Holy House and placed it under the wings of the cherubim. At this time, the ark contained only the two tables of stone upon which God had written and which He had given Moses at Sinai (Deu. 10:2-5; 1 Kings 8:9). Previously, the ark had contained: (1) the golden pot of manna (Exo. 16:33-34); (2) Aaron's rod that budded (Num. 17:10); and, (3) the tables of the covenant (Exo. 25:16 [Heb. 9:4 lists all three of these items]). Concerning the pot of manna and Aaron's rod which budded, their disappearance may be explained by the capture of the ark by the Philistines; however, God has not chosen to explain what happened to them. The ark remained in the temple until the captivity of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, after which we have no more record of it.
CHAPTER 5:13-6:11 – GOD ACCEPTS THE ARK AND THE TEMPLE
The filling of the Lord's house with a cloud, referred to by Solomon as God's dwelling in thick darkness, represented His acceptance. It also signified His glory as it had in times past (Exo. 16:10; 24:16; Num. 9:15; Deu. 4:11; cf. 1 Kin. 8:10-11). Especially note Exo. 40:34-35: "Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." As God was pleased with their service to Him, so He honored them with His presence. It is even so today, though not with a visible representation (Mat. 18:20). Millions would be surprised to know that God is not present in their worship. Why? Because they do not worship according to His will, from the heart (John 4:24).
Solomon pointed out to the people that God had chosen: (1) His people (2 Chr. 6:5); (2) Jerusalem as the place of the temple (2 Chr. 6:6); (3) Solomon as its builder (2 Chr. 6:9); and, (4) the preservation of His covenant which He made with Israel (2 Chr. 6:11).
CHAPTER 6:12-42 – SOLOMON’S PRAYER OF CONSECRATION
Solomon thanked God for keeping His promises and called upon Him to provide continual care for His people (2 Chr. 6:14-21). God has promised to show mercy to those who walk before Him with all their hearts. He has always prefaced salvation with conditions of man's obedience from the heart (Rom. 6:16-18). They had learned that God, not the ark, was the source of salvation. Solomon understood that if the people would, when they had sinned, meet the conditions of turning from sin with all their hearts, confessing to God and seeking forgiveness through prayer, God would hear and forgive. Thus, he made his request known unto God in the beautiful prayer that followed. In 2 Chronicles Solomon petitioned God to hear when:
1. A man sinned against his neighbor and made an oath before the altar in this house (2 Chr. 6:22-23)
2. Israel suffered defeat because of sin and they turned, confessed, and prayed for forgiveness in this house (2 Chr. 6:24-25)
3. God withheld rain because of their sin and they turned, confessed, and prayed toward this place for forgiveness (2 Chr. 6:26-27)
4. In time of disaster and adversity, when anyone or everyone should spread forth his hands in this house (2 Chr. 6:28-31)
5. A stranger came and prayed in this house (2 Chr. 6:32-33)
6. The people went out to war, "and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name" (2 Chr. 6:34-35)
7. If, because of sin, God delivered the people into captivity, yet, "they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul ... and pray toward their land ... and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name" (2 Chr. 6:36-38). Facing toward Jerusalem to pray indicated their respect for the presence of God and worship directed toward Him there.
As in Rom. 6:23 and 1 John 1:6-10, Solomon declared, "There is no man which sinneth not." While man must seek to live without sin, sadly, none does. God, man's Creator, has provided a way for His children to be forgiven when they sin. As then, so now, His children (those born again; i.e., born into His family by obedience to His Word) must turn from sin, confess, and pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:22). Solomon spoke of a future captivity (2 Chr. 6:36-39) which came to pass when Babylon overthrew the Southern Kingdom. From Babylon, a remnant returned in their hearts to God and God returned them to their homeland. See Daniel's prayer (Dan. 9).